Viola Davis Gave the Most Powerful Emmy Awards Acceptance Speech of All Time

By Jessie Heyman

Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win the Emmy Award for best actress in a drama series for her role on "How to Get Away with Murder," then delivered the most powerful Emmy acceptance speech to date.

Davis began with a quote from Harriet Tubman. "In my mind, I see a line," she said. "And over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line but I can’t seem to get there no how. I can't seem to get over that line." She then said, "The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity."

Davis's acceptance speech quickly became a powerful homage to women of color, including to her fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there," Davis said. "Here is to all the writers, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes," Davis went on, "People who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black. And to all the Taraji P. Hensons and Kerry Washingtons ... to Gabrielle Union, thank you for taking us over that line."

Watch Viola Davis's full speech below.

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